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Zimbabwe says lack of funding to clear anti-personnel mines

HARARE, July 13 (Xinhua) — The Zimbabwean government on Tuesday bemoaned lack of adequate funding from donors and international partners to support its demining efforts.

Zimbabwe is one of the most densely mined countries in the world.

While the country’s land mine clearance started in earnest in 1982, only two years after independence, the country is still grappling with the challenge of anti-personnel mines that were planted by Rhodesian forces during the country’s 1970s war of liberation due to shortage of funding.

Mark Gray Marongwe, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defense and War Veterans Affairs, told a parliamentary committee on Defense, Home Affairs and Security Services on Tuesday that lack of sufficient funding was hampering demining efforts in the country.

“Despite the fact that the United Nations considers demining a priority all over the world, we have not been receiving any direct support from all international donors be they United Nations, African Union or even on a bilateral basis,” Marongwe said.

“As things stand, we are actually looking for new equipment to replace the equipment that we possess as defense forces which are aged and we are not getting any assistance from the donor community.

“Any support that the committee can render as you engage as international parliamentarians will be very much welcome,” Marongwe added.

Zimbabwe in 2018 launched a national mine action strategic plan running from 2018-2025 aimed at mobilizing local and international support to enable the country to meet the goal of being landmine-free by 2025.

Due to the land mines, laid mostly along the country’s northern and eastern borders, vast tracts of high priority land remain unutilized to the detriment of the country’s socio-economic development.

Several people have died and others maimed by the landmines, while domestic and wild animals have also fallen victim to the mines.

Source: DreamAfrica LIVE (A DreamGalaxy Trusted Brand)